HEALTH & WELFARE OF THE GREAT SWISS MOUNTAIN DOG
It is important to highlight that as a large breed the GSMD are susceptible to various health issues. Amongst the most prevalent are:
Hip Dysplasia: Caused when the femoral head does not fit properly in the hip socket, causing instability of the joint which over time causes increased pain and immobility.
Therefore a selective breeding strategy should be observed. Preferably all dogs should be scored. It is expected that breeding dogs should be x-rayed & scored using the KC/BVA, or an applicable overseas hip scoring scheme, before mating occurs.
Elbow Dysplasia: May be due to different growth rates of the three elbow bones. It can lead to painful joints, arthritis and possibly to OCD [Osteochrondritis Dissecans].
Therefore it is expected that all breeding animals are x-rayed using the KC/BVA or an applicable overseas scheme and low graded dogs only be used in a breeding program.
OCD / Shoulders: In regards to this issue it is advised that shoulders should also be x-rayed and a specialist veterinary orthopaedic's report sought. The BVA do not score the shoulders therefore they have to be sent abroad for scoring.
Epilepsy: May be a problem, but in some cases dogs & bitches may have already produced progeny before it shows up. If after research any dog or bitch's parents, grandparents or siblings etc have shown signs of epilepsy they SHOULD NOT be used in a breeding program.
Temperament: With such a large breed it is important that breeding stock is subjected to a temperament assessment and that potential breeding stock show 'acceptable' in all aspects of the test .
The Club holds a Character Assessment Test, under controlled conditions, once a year.
Eye Testing: Eye testing for hereditary diseases is valuable but it must be remembered that eyes change and a good result one year may not be so in subsequent years. Dogs known to carry disease should not be bred from. Tests should be performed at least every three years on all breeding stock.
Identification: By law all dogs have to be permanently identified by the breeder before leaving for their new homes. This is also mandatory prior to any health checks which are performed.